Tuesday, October 26, 2010
Disney's Haunted Mansion: Watch For Hitchhiking Ghosts!
Disney's Haunted Mansion is one of my favorite theme park attractions. The Mansion's famous "Hitchhiking Ghosts" have quite a few followers, and many are eager to have these spirited characters represented in their home. The image above is from a Haunted Mansion record and book set from 1970.
I bought this Disneyland Haunted Mansion key chain far from Disneyland in California. This is from a temporary Disney theme park liquidation store in Louisville, Kentucky that I visited in 2000 (I think). Most of the merchandise for sale was from California. I also got a glow-in-the-dark Haunted Mansion shirt here.
In 2008, I got some unique pins at Walt Disney Imagineering in California.
I'm surprised these character designs haven't shown up more often. They are great!
Remember the bean bag craze? All sorts of characters were turned into beanies, including the Hitchhiking Ghosts. I think I got these in 1999, and they were from Disneyland. They were also sold at Walt Disney World, The Disney Catalog, and online.
From left to right, this is "Happy Haunt #998, Happy Haunt #997, and Happy Haunt #999." These ghosts now are known by individual names. They are (from left to right) Ezra, Gus and Phineas. These toys feature glow-in-the-dark eyes.
In November 2009, I found these great bobblehead figures at Walt Disney World.
These were only available at The Magic Kingdom. I bought these at a gift cart near the Haunted Mansion, and I also saw them for sale at the Emporium on Main Street. Yes, these glow in the dark!
On this same trip, I got this Disney Racers Haunted Mansion Ghost.
I love this collection. On that trip, the toughest character to find was Kermit the Frog. Kermit was apparently exclusive to Disney's Hollywood Studios.
In 2005, the Disney Catalog had some really nice Haunted Mansion collectibles.
This stunning pewter set closely follows the original Marc Davis character designs. Note the use of color on the characters and the fact that Ezra used to be a ghost (also seen in the Haunted Mansion book and record image). This set also features the mysterious Hatbox Ghost that vanished from the Mansion before the ride opened to the public.
Here's some more limited edition Mansion memorabilia.
One of the most memorable parts of the Haunted Mansion is the Stretch Room. Here we encounter some creepy gargoyles.
Of course, we also witness the room and the paintings within stretching!
Spoiler alert: At Disneyland, the stretching gallery is actually an elevator. The misguided souls running Disneyland's website years ago actually described this feature as the "haunted elevator." At Disneyland and Disneyland Paris, the stretch room elevator takes visitors down so they can go through a tunnel under the parks' railroad tracks.
At Walt Disney World and Tokyo Disneyland, it is NOT an elevator at all. The ceiling rises.
Here is one of the stretching portraits made into a lamp. This is strictly for collectors. Don't give this to any random grandmother, please (unless she's a Haunted Mansion fan).
Ooh, I like the bat detail at the top of the lamp.
Have you ever experienced the Lion King version of the Haunted Mansion? Notice the stretching portraits of Timon and Pumbaa and the hyena versions of the gargoyles.
This was part of Timon & Pumbaa's Virtual Safari 1.5 on the DVD of "The Lion King 1 1/2." I'm not crazy about sequels in general, but this was a funny movie and the Safari was a hilarious trip through Timon and Pumbaa's "new ride." This included spoofs of Pirates of the Caribbean and the Matterhorn's Abominable Snowman.
In 1998, Disney and Golden Books released a fantastic Haunted Mansion coloring book. This featured illustrations by Len Smith and Arkadia (the cover illustration was done by Scott Tilley and Thomas Phong). The story followed Mickey and the gang working as a cleaning crew in the Haunted Mansion.
This book features some very animated drawings!
The character designs of the Hitchhiking Ghosts seen in the coloring book have been seen elsewhere, too! I got these Halloween pins on my October 2008 trip to Disneyland in California.
Here are the dueling ghosts (from the Great Hall scene) and the Bride from the Attic.
Ironically, the Hitchhiking Ghosts and the Bride cannot be found at Disneyland on Halloween! Why? Because the Mansion becomes "Haunted Mansion Holiday" for Halloween and Christmas at Disneyland in California (and Tokyo Disneyland in Japan). As much as I love the Haunted Mansion, I have to say that "Haunted Mansion Holiday" was easily one of the best parts of my Disneyland visit.